(VOVworld) – ‘Rau nhip’, a wild vegetable which is highly nutritious and easy to grow, grows well even in home gardens. During the war ‘rau nhip’ was part of the daily diet of soldiers stationed deep in the jungle. Today people in Bu Dang district, Binh Phuoc province, grow this vegetable in their gardens as a source of income.
Dieu Hol, head of the ethnic affairs section of Binh Phuoc People’s Council meets with farmers
Dieu Kinh of hamlet 5 in Bu Dang district has about 36 square meters of land planted in ‘rau nhip’ and cashew trees. Kinh says ‘rau nhip’ grows wild in the forest but it can take most of the day to go into the forest to pick enough for a meal. As forest areas shrink ‘rau nhip’ grows scarcer.
For three years, Kinh and his family have grown ‘rau nhip’ at home, providing a stable income with relatively little work. Many traders order directly from him.
Kinh says “at first I had to go to the forest to pull up seedlings and bring them home to plant. Two months later new buds sprouted. In the first year we didn’t harvest. Rau nhip grows naturally without any fertilizer.”
The family of Dieu Dan, a Dieu Kinh’s fellow-villager, also grows ‘rau nhip’ along with cashew and cocoa trees on 1 hectare. Dan says the price of ‘rau nhip’ fluctuates from 1.9 to 2.3 USD a kilo. When it’s hot, the price can go up to 3.3 USD a kilo. In a month his family can harvest about 20 kilos of young leaves from 36 square meters.
“The model is very convenient. When we’re too busy, we still have the vegetable for daily meals. Planting ‘rau nhip’ also helps prevent erosion,” according to Dan.
Statistics show that more than 200 ha in Bu Dang district are used to grow ‘rau nhip’ in combination with other crops.
According to experts, thanks to its adaptability, ‘rau nhip’ can be grown quickly with little cost or effort. All it needs is water. And ‘rau nhip’ is shade-tolerant so it can be grown alongside other plants.
Nguyen Van Giang, an official of Bu Dang’s agricultural extension station, says if ‘rau nhip’ is planted in the shade of cashews in very moist soil, it grows very well.
Giang explains “local farmers often pull up seedlings in the forest to intercrop in their gardens or around their houses. This reduces the need to go to the forest to pick up ‘rau nhip’, provides safe, home-grown vegetables for daily meals, and reduces the erosion of garden soil. ”
|The couple Dieu Men of Son Lap hamlet in Bu Dang district are harvesting ‘rau nhip’ for sales. (Photo: baobinhphuoc.com.vn)
Rau nhip has become a new delicacy, popular with tourists and locals alike. Tran Mai Nho, a small trader in Bu Dang market, says “the vegetable can be made into simple but tasty boiled or fried dishes or soups. Many tourists buy it. Because it is a wild plant, it’s clean, without any fertilizer.”
Growing wild vegetables at home is providing many nutritional and economic benefits, while conserving valuable natural resources and diversifying the diets of ethnic minority people in Binh Phuoc province.